Monday, January 29, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST January 29, 2007

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From Paul Harris - Publisher
The Independent Gay News

A couple of things that hopefully will be of interest to either you or yourfriends..

On Thursday, February 1st "The Independent" will be holding its 2nd Annual"People of the Year Awards" at which will shall honor people who contributetowards making our community all that it can be.

Our honorees this year are as follows:

Person of the Year - Father Bill Collins, Founder of Poverello which thisyear celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Lifetime Achievement Award - Gary Keating, Founder of the South FloridaChoral Movement (currently Artistic Director of the Miami Gay Men's Chorus,and Interim Artistic Director of the South Florida Lambda Chorale)

Unsung Hero Awards - Jack Cole (Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus)
- Ray Rideout and Michael Cooper ("Ray's List)

Contribution to the Sporting Community - John Grzeszczak (Founder and Coach
of the Hammerheads Swim Team)

Special Award - The Gateway Cinema, Sunrise Boulevard

Straight Ally of the Year Award - Miss Vicky Keller

Special Community Awards - Toni Barone (formerly of Elements)
- Church of the Holy

The evening at Laffing Matterz starts at 6.30pm with dinner being served at7pm. The Independent has negotiated a special deal with the venue. Tickets,which include the presentation of the awards, dinner (which includes entrée,salad and beverage), and the show including tax and gratuity, cost $50.Tickets can be purchased by calling 954.763.5236 or by going to the venue'swebsite at

As anyone who has been to Laffing Matterz
will tell you, the food is very good. While most theater restaurants have aterrible reputation when it comes to food. Laffing Matterz has aninteresting and varied menu and I have yet to have a bad meal there in threedifferent visits. After dinner and the presentation of the awards there is a75 minute show of sharp topical humor, much of it involving music. Lastyear's event, our first, almost totally sold out. This year we expect to doeven better. When you book remember to tell them you are coming to "TheIndependent" evening. There is plenty of car parking near the venue. We arereally looking forward to seeing you there to help celebrate the thirdanniversary of "The Independent" and some of the wonderful people who makeour community what it is...

Hope to see you all at "Laughing Matterz" on Thursday, February 1st.Remember cocktails are from 6.30, dinner at 7pm


Jan 28, 3:11 PM EST

Paper: Fla. gives gun permits to felons

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Hundreds of criminals were able to obtainconcealed weapons permits in Florida because of loopholes, errors andmiscommunication, a newspaper reported Sunday.

An analysis of state records show the roughly 410,000 Floridians licensed tocarry hidden guns included 1,400 who had pleaded guilty or no contest tofelonies, 216 with outstanding warrants, 128 named in active domesticviolence injunctions and six registered sex offenders, the South FloridaSun-Sentinel reported.

"I had no idea," said Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson, who sits on anadvisory panel for the state Division of Licensing, which issues permits forcarrying concealed weapons. "I think the system, somewhere down the line, isbroken. I guarantee you the ordinary person doesn't know (that) ... and I'dventure to guess that 160 legislators in Florida don't know that, either."

The newspaper obtained the names of people on the state's concealed weaponspermit list shortly before state lawmakers sealed it from public scrutinyJuly 1.


Crisis put GOP out of its element

Lawmakers say the expansion of Citizens is an aberration, born of theinsurance crisis. Lawmakers veered from free-market solutions.
By JENNIFER LIBERTO, Times Staff Writer
Published January 29, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Of all the people with agendas who cornered state Rep. JackSeiler during the Legislature's special session on insurance, there was onewho hounded him more than anyone.

Gov. Charlie Crist.

The Republican governor and his staff kept after Seiler, a Broward CountyDemocrat, and others in the Legislature to make sure a final deal oninsurance included an expansion of the state-run Citizens Property Corp.

"Don't forget about Citizens," Crist told Seiler over the phone during thatfinal weekend of negotiations. Then Crist asked Seiler to pass the phone toRepublican Sen. Durrell "Doc" Peaden of Crestview, who was nearby, and Cristdelivered the same message.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Is paternity denial by Crist really enough?
Gov. Charlie Crist denied he fathered a child 17 years ago. But some wonderwhether he has an ethical duty to prove it.


It's hardly unusual: an adopted teenager wonders where she came from.

In fact, ''it's classic for a [17-year-old] to want to find her identity andunderstand best who she is,'' said Linda Spears, an adoption caseworker for25 years, now spokeswoman for the Child Welfare League of America.

The challenge in any family, according to Spears: ``What do adults do tohelp kids through that?''

When one of the adults is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the challengetranscends emotional complications to encompass his political image.

The adoptive parents of a St. Petersburg teen recently acknowledged thatthey have been trying to talk to Crist for months because their daughterwonders whether he's her father.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Israel's existence is in peril, expert tells crowd at temple
Author and newspaper columnist Daniel Pipes spoke at a synagogue inWeston about his ideas on ending violence against Israelis.


After inspecting photographs of men, women and children maimed andshredded by violence in Israel, about 150 people at a Weston synagogue heardone man's answer to end it.

''The goal is getting the Palestinians to give up,'' scholar andcolumnist Daniel Pipes told the crowd Sunday night.

Pipes, who heads a think tank called the Middle East Forum inPhiladelphia, spoke to an audience at Temple Dor Dorim in Weston about hissolution for preventing more victims of violence in Israel. Pipes is acolumnist for The New York Sun and holds a doctorate in history fromHarvard.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Bad idea: Moving primary to January

Would you be ready to vote for president one year from today? If someFlorida lawmakers have their way, the state's presidential primary will bemoved up -- way up -- to a date that is seven days after the New Hampshireprimary, which currently is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2008. Yet, if thosecrafty New Englanders see anyone getting ahead of them, they will holdtheirs even earlier, which could cause Florida to move up, too.Voters aren't ready

This mad race to be among the first states to cast primary ballots is everybit as silly as it sounds. Giving the Florida primary a more prominent rolein the electoral calendar is all well and good. But legislators aren't doingthe voters any favors by moving to such an early date.

The voters aren't ready, the sorting-out of candidates will become a thingof the past, debates over issues -- to the extent that there are debates --will vanish entirely, and political exhaustion will set in earlier. Whoneeds all that?


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Planning for Florida's education future

The future of higher education in Florida is at a crossroads. Will ourchildren inherit a scattered system of mediocre state universities? Or mightthey choose from a variety of excellent undergraduate colleges and a fewtop-notch research institutions? The answers will be shaped by a planninginitiative undertaken by the state university system and its board ofgovernors. Florida can't afford to continue the historical pattern ofpiecemeal growth in an educational system that is vital to the state'sfuture.

Much is at stake

Education is key to expanding economic opportunity for Florida residents andbusinesses. A workforce with the knowledge and skills demanded by a globaleconomy is an investment in Florida's future. Such workers would attract newbusiness to the state and boost the economy. Broad access to high-qualityeducation would open the door to better-paying jobs and opportunities.


Gainesville Sun
Article published Jan 28, 2007

DOCTORS & EXECUTIONS: A complex dilemma of medicine, ethics and law

Sun staff writer

The hood is off doctors involved in Florida executions, creating a conflictfor a state trying to ensure that lethal injection is medically sound.

The Florida Department of Corrections has fought to conceal the identity ofdoctors who pronounce inmates dead at executions, saying it's againstFlorida law to reveal these doctors' names. In the death chamber, thesephysicians wear hoods and goggles, shielding their faces from executionwitnesses.

But now the Alachua County medical examiner has released autopsy reportsfrom 18 executions revealing the names of three doctors - Elio Madan,Rodrigo Quintana and Victor Selyutin - who have pronounced executed inmatesdead. Unlike the Department of Corrections, the medical examiner contendsthat state law only protects the identity of the executioner, not thesedoctors.

The issue of doctor involvement in executions presents a "Catch-22" forFlorida and other states trying to fix problems with lethal injection.

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